The Maltings, between Chequer Street and Victoria Street
“I think you may already know me – I am ‘The Maltings’. Perhaps you come to me to shop, or visit the library. But do you ever wonder what was here before I was built?
On medieval maps my land behind Chequer Street was called the ‘town backsides’. I had wooden buildings with garden plots as well as hotels and stables busy with pilgrims visiting the Abbey. My name comes from the buildings I housed from the 15th Century. My ‘maltings’ were where grain was turned into malt ready to make beer. I was used for brewing for many decades; you can still see the Brewmaster’s House behind my shops if you look carefully.
From the 1850’s the roads that surround me were developed and I had a fire station, cinema and ‘Training Home for Girls’ on them. But by 1970 I lay derelict. The council thought I could be the perfect home for a large indoor shopping centre, but local people wanted something more suited to a market town; their protesters even appeared on the BBC!
I was officially opened in April 1988 by Diana, Princess of Wales and my shops and cafes are now busy with people once again.”
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